Punch has announced that Neil Griffiths has decided to stepdown from his current position of chief strategy officer.

Griffiths, who played a key role in the group’s initial turnaround and demerger from Spirit, has been chief strategy officer since last August. Prior to this he was chief operating officer responsible for the operational, recruitment, property and development functions of the group.

Punch said that he would remain available within the business until the end of November to ensure a smooth handover of the strategic projects he is working on.

On joining Punch from Warner Brothers, he was responsible for building the group’s transactional team.

He went on to take operational responsibility for the group’s Turnaround Division, recruitment, and the strategic development of the estate, as well as for maximising profitability through investment, acquisition, disposal and rental growth, and for alternative use development.

At Warner Brothers, he was International property director responsible for its pan-European multiplex cinema development.

Prior to that, he was head of property with Bass and, while he was commercial development director, he was also a board member for Bass Leisure Entertainments.

Griffiths said: “I have had the most incredible experience working with Punch over 15 years but now wish to take my career in a new direction. I expect to remain in the industry in an advisory or non–executive capacities. I will miss the business and want to wish Duncan and every one at Punch the very best success for the future.”

Duncan Garrood, chief executive of Punch, said: “Clearly we are very disappointed to be losing Neil’s knowledge and experience as he has been a highly valued member of the Executive Board for many years. The Plc Board and I want to thank Neil for his huge contribution to the business and we wish him every success in his future endeavours.”